Rock & Roll Heaven

Danny Windsor is Finally Over the Rainbow

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

I met Danny Windsor in the late 1990’s at La Cage Aux Folles Dinner Theatre, run by Guenther Weswaldi and Bill Delingat. He had a charming smile and a charismatic personality that had obviously worked for him in his Hollywood days. Even after he stopped performing in the Toronto theatre, he was a steadfast friend of La Cage and would always come to visit and strut his stuff. Danny Windsor stayed as a life-long friend of La Cage Producer Guenther Weswaldi, as well as Jeff Dawson aka Joan Rivers and will be missed by many.

Bill Delingat was manager at La Cage during the early days and had this to say, ‘Danny did it all from a young hair covered flying dognapping primate to, vaudeville, and world stages. He found his groove as Disco Dolly in our production of an Evening at La Cage” where his Carol Burnett style “Cleaning lady” character mesmerized audiences with his unique camp humor , gender bending and tongue in cheek wit. I always loved to see the expressions on the faces of the appreciative audiences as he closed the show with Debbie Boones “You Light Up my Life” reaching into his hand bag as the lights dimmed to pull out a glowing Vibrator .The silence turned into gasps, laughter and a standing ovation as he did his skirt hiking curtsey to leave the stage. That light will forever shine as Danny moves on to another curtain call.’

Rick Huxley Of the Dave Clark 5 Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Rick Huxley, the bass player and co-founding member of the 60’s pop group The Dave Clark 5, has passed away. He was 72.

Huxley was a heavy smoker, and had battled emphysema for years. Dave Clark, the leader of the band, said Huxley had recently been given a clean bill of health. Clark said Huxley's death "devastating. We spoke weekly,” Clark said. "I spoke to Rick on Friday, he was in great spirits."

Formed in 1958, The Dave Clark Five were a big part of the British Invasion movement that brought the Beatles to America in the Sixties. They were in fact, the next British group to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, just two weeks after The Beatles in February 1964. Their "Glad All Over" knocked "I Want to Hold Your Hand" out of the top spot on the U.K. singles chart a month earlier. They had several hit singles, "Bits and Pieces" and "Everybody Knows." The Dave Clark Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Dave Clark Five lead singer Mike Smith died of pneumonia Thursday, less than two weeks before the band was  inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 64.

"Rick was a dear friend and an immensely talented musician with an amazing sense of humor, he always made me smile," said Clark.

Huxley was born in the British town of Dartford in Kent, and remained in the Dave Clark Five until the group split in 1970. He then pursued a career in real estate and the music business.

Reg Presley The Troggs Lead Singer Dead at 71

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Rock star Reg Presley, lead singer of The Troggs on hit songs including the garage-rock classic “Wild Thing,” has died. He was 71.

The Troggs formed in 1964 and were signed by Larry Page, manager of the Kinks, in 1965. They recorded on Page's Page One Records, and Page also leased them to CBS for debut single "Lost Girl". Their most famous hit was the single "Wild Thing" (written by Chip Taylor) (the song on the b-side of the single depended on the country where it was sold), which with the help of television exposure on Thank Your Lucky Stars reached number 2 in the UK and number 1 in the United States in July 1966. Its combination of a simple heavy guitar riff and flirtatious lyrics helped it to quickly become a garage rock standard. It was recorded in one complete take (take two) at Olympic Studios in London, with Keith Grant engineering. Because of a dispute over US distribution rights, "Wild Thing" was released (along with the first album of the same name) on two labels: Fontana and Atco.The band's success in the US was also limited by not touring there until 1968.

Patti Page Turn the Page and Close the Book

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Submitted by Don Graham

Iconic American singer Patti Page has passed away at age 85. She was the best-selling female artist of the 1950s, and sold over 100 million records in her lifetime. Born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore Oklahoma in November of 1927 she changed her name to Patti Page and made her first record in 1948 "Confess". In 1950, she had her first million-selling single "With My Eyes Wide Open, I'm Dreaming", and would eventually have 14 additional million-selling singles between 1950 and 1965.

Page's signature song, "Tennessee Waltz", recorded in 1950, was one of the biggest selling singles of the time. "Tennessee Waltz" spent 13 weeks atop the charts in 1950. Page had three additional  # 1 hit singles between 1950 and 1953, with "All My Love (Bolero)", "I Went to Your Wedding", and "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window". Her Oklahoma background may have been responsible for Page blending a little of the country style into many of her most popular songs. By doing this, many of Page's singles were successful in the country market. Page continued to have major hits into the mid-1960s with "Old Cape Cod", "Allegheny Moon", "A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold)", and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte".

In the 1970s, Page focused her career towards country music, and she began charting on the country charts, up until 1982. Page was one of the few vocalists to have made the country charts in five separate decades.

Fontella Bass of Rescue Me Fame Passes On

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Fontela Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.

Fontella Bass was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and at early age Fontella showed great musical talent – at five years old she was providing the piano accompaniment for her grandmother's singing at funeral services, she was singing in her church's choir at six years old and by the time she was nine she was accompanying her mother on tours throughout the American South and Southwest.

Passages of 2012


By Don Graham

It’s that time of year again when we take stock of all the folks in the music industry who left us in the past 12 months. We make note of their passing at the time it happens, say our condolences, write our obits and remember them fondly. But it seems it’s only when we look at the year’s end list that we realize the volume of names that appear there.  This year was no different. We lost some great folks in 2012 and the heavens are rockin’ with the sound of music.

This year, the world’s oldest teenager, Dick Clark entered Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven and what a lineup he has to work with from this years entrants.

The incredible Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Etta James joined the choir along with Robin Gibb, Monkee Davy Jones, Andy Williams, Major Harris of the Delfonics , Orleans lead singer Larry Hoppen, Donna Summer and Kathi Macdonald. Dave Brubeck will jam with British guitarist Big Jim Sullivan and Ravi Shankar and the Band’s Levon Helm, along with Duck Dunn or Funk Brother Bob Babbitt will be laying down the bass line. If they take a break John Stockfish ,Lightfoot’s bassman or  Bob Birch , bassist of Elton John fame can fill in with Crowded House drummer Peter Jones and Herb Reed of the Platters adding his velvet voice as will Earl “Speedo” Carroll. Just recently Mexican superstar Jenni Rivera was called home. She was there to greet 'Rescue Me' Fontella Bass as she crossed over at the last minute.

Ravi Shankar Dies at 92

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Submitted by Don Graham

Ravi Shankar, musician, composer and India’s best-known contemporary musician passed away this week in San Diego California. These days, Shankar is perhaps best known as the father of singing star Norah Jones but in the 1960’s, he was responsible for bringing Eastern music to the West through his relationship with the Beatles and George Harrison. He brought the mystical sound to the Liverpool band’s Sgt. Pepper album with Harrison playing a sitar on “Within You, Without You. “ Stunning performances at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock Festival  in 1969 cemented Shankar's place in Western musical history and allowed him to become an ambassador of Eastern wisdom to a generation that was searching for new values. Brian Jones used a sitar on the Rolling Stones classic “Paint It Black.”

The sitar is a remarkable instrument, intricately made and has a unique and ethereal sound. I actually saw one in the 60’s when guitar player and producer Bill Hill of Chestnut Tree Productions acquired one in a swap with a fan. “ I was playing  with a Fender Showman with 2 15” JBL speakers when a fan came to me and asked if I wanted to buy a sitar. His dad was in the merchant navy and had brought it back from India. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy it but he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He offered me the sitar for one of my 15” JBLs. At the the end of the gig I extracted the speaker and made the trade. Beautiful instrument, real ivory, gorgeous wood and ambient sound.”

Jenni Rivera Dies in Small Plane Crash

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Mexican superstar Jenni Rivera was killed in a plane crash in the early morning hours of December 10th. She was 43 years old. Four other passengers and two pilots were also aboard the plane.

There were no survivors. The flight was headed from Monterrey to Toluca, after Rivera performed in Monterrey on Saturday night. Mexico's transportation ministry says the plane lost contact with radar at 3:15 AM, not far from  Monterrey, Mexico.

"There is nothing recognizable, neither material nor human" in the wreckage found in the state of Nuevo Leon, Ruiz Esparza said. The impact was so powerful that the remains of the plane "are scattered over an area of 250 to 300 meters. It is almost unrecognizable."

A California driver's license with Rivera's name and picture was found amidst the crash site debris.

No immediate cause was given for the plane's crash. The wreckage was found near the town of Iturbide in Mexico's Sierra Madre Oriental, where the terrain is very rough.

Born in Long Beach, California, Rivera was at the top of her career and was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles.

Former Host Tom Kelly of Singalong Jubilee Passes Away


Submitted by Mel Shaw

Tom Kelly, singer/songwriter, passed away after a heart attack on November 25th in his  home town of Burlington, Ontario  and Canada has lost another marvelous soul of music. His passing silences another voice of reason and compassion for others.

Tom was a writer of songs all his life. He had recently finished creating material for a new project he called, Legacy. From his explanations of the songs and spoken word narratives I know his creativity was alive and well.

Tom was quiet, thoughtful and compassionate. His relaxed personality was known by many friends and music industry acquaintances.

The general public never had that three minute song to identify his career nor did he have a major music happening to make him and his songs a household name. Tom didn't mind. He was all about the words and a melody to lift the spirits of those who were listening.

One highlight he fondly recalled was back awhile, when It looked like Tom was on his way to national fame'  He  took over the hosting of Singalong Jubilee on the CBC in Halifax. He was stepping into the studio spotlight of the program that the legendary host and singer, Bill Langstroth, had built by introducing the magic Maritime music to the nation.

Dave Brubeck Dies One Day Short of his 92nd Birthday

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Jazz great Dave Brubeck has died at the age of 91of heart failure while on his way to a cardiology appointment. He was with his son, Darius on the way to appointment when his son noticed something not right. He dialed 911 and was met at the hospital by medical staff. Brubeck’s career spanned from World War II to the present. He formed the Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first jazz musician to make the cover of Time Magazine in 1954.

His best known album “Time Out” was released in 1959 and was the first ever jazz album to sell a million copies and is still selling today. The opening track “Blue Rondo ala Turk” is classic Brubeck. Based loosely on Mozart’s “Blue Rondo” it starts in 9/8 time. The piano and saxophone piece eventually intercuts between Brubeck’s piano and the more common 4/4 jazz rhythm. The album also featured Brubeck’s signature tune “Take Five”, in 5/4 time that actually charted as a single in 1961.

In 2009 he was still touring at age 88 and later in that year was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honour, The Kennedy Center Honors are awarded annually for exemplary lifetime achievement in the performing arts. Brubeck and his wife Iola had 5 sons and a daughter and 4 of his boys Chris on bass and trombone, Dan on drums Matthew on cello and Datius on keyboards played with the London Symphony in a December 2009 birthday tribute to Brubeck.

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